Over 600 NGOs from 151 countries have signed a Joint Civil Society Statement calling on the Human Rights Council of the United Nations to appoint an Independent Expert to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI).
The statement says that:
“in countries and regions around the world, individuals experience grave human rights violations on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. These include murder, rape, assault, torture, arbitrary arrest, discrimination in access to health care, employment, housing and education, repression of freedom of expression and association, attacks and restrictions on human rights defenders, denial of police services, extortion, bullying, denial of one’s self-defined gender identity, and other abuses.”
The statement acknowledges that the Human Rights Council mandated the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to produce two ground-breaking reports focusing on discrimination and violence against persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. But the statement said that “while these are welcome steps, it is time to move beyond one-off initiatives and piecemeal measures.”
The statement said that the Independent Expert should, among other things, monitor and document human rights violations; prepare regular reports on issues; engage with countries to build awareness of SOGI issues; identify good practices and encourage reforms; and support civil society and NGOs working on these issues.